Merino wool prices (notably at the fine end) have been rising strongly in the past four months in both A$ and US$ terms, but prices for competing fibres such as cotton, polyester and acrylic have been relatively steady or even a little lower. As a result, the price relativity between fine Merino wool and these other fibres has increased sharply.
Compared with synthetic fibres, the current price relativity for 19 micron wool stands at 7.66, the highest ever recorded. Compared with cotton, 19 micron prices are at 7.18, close to but not at record levels.
For 21 micron, the price relativity is at 6.61 against synthetic fibres (a record level) and at 6.19 against cotton (below the highs seen at the start of 2016 but still comparatively high).
In contrast to these historically high level, the price relativities for Crossbred wool (as indicated by the 28 micron indictor), have fallen steadily since the start of 2016 as prices have languished.
Full details including a chart showing the trends in the price relativities for 19 micron, 21 micron and 28 micron wool compared with synthetics and with cotton is included in the NCWSBA Weekly Newsletter for the week ending 20th January 2017, available to NCWSBA members.